According to diabetes.org, approximately 86 million American adults have prediabetes, and another 29.1 million have developed Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. There is a long list of health complications associated with being diabetic, so it is imperative for those in a prediabetic state to take immediate action to prevent the onset of this disease. Fortunately, you can get your health under control by implementing a few new practices into your daily routine.
1. Remove soda and sports drinks from your diet.
One of the biggest issues that people with diabetes face is difficulty keeping their blood sugar in line. If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, it is just as important to remove all unnecessary sugar from your diet. Caffeine can also cause problems, so your best bet is to stop drinking all regular sodas, sports drinks, sweet tea and anything else that contains caffeine. When temptation to grab a soda strikes, be sure to remind yourself that the average 12-ounce can is filled with the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar.
2. Start a regular exercise program.
Exercise and diet are two of the most important things for you to embrace if you want to avoid developing diabetes. Experts recommend working out for at least 30 minutes per day, and this may require some professional input or instruction to help ensure you stay safe and don’t get bored. For example, Les Mills fitness programs offer a wide variety of options, ranging from dancing to a full-body weights workout. Utilizing a program that allows you to learn many different things will make exercising more mentally and physically engaging, and it will also give you a better overall workout.
3. Make the switch to low-fat dairy products.
The good news is that you do not need to completely give up dairy unless you’re lactose intolerant. However, your body will thank you for it if you begin substituting low-fat or no-fat dairy products. The American Diabetes Association advocates that this is one of the best ways to keep your intake of sugar and carbs low while still getting the necessary protein and calcium. You can get used to the lower fat products by gradually stepping down from whole fat to 2 percent, followed by 1 percent and, finally, no-fat.
4. Keep a diary of your food consumption and emotions.
A food diary is important for prediabetics and people with diabetes, and it can also be useful for everyone else. In a nutshell, you should write down what you eat, along with the time, and monitor yourself for any mood changes. Carefully capturing all of this information can help clue you in to which food items are causing you the most issues. Additionally, tracking your food will help you get a better idea of how healthy, or unhealthy, your daily diet actually is. From there, you can make the necessary changes to improve your health.
5. Replace bad carbs with whole grain food.
Whole grains have been found to help people avoid diabetes, and they can even prevent someone from reaching the prediabetic stage. In fact, studies have found that ingesting at least 59 grams of whole grains daily will reduce your odds of becoming prediabetic by 27 percent. Researchers also discovered that people who consume 30 grams or less of whole grains are at the highest risk of becoming diabetic. In other words, check your pasta, bread, cereal, and other grains to ensure that you are getting enough whole grains.
6. Avoid juice and eat fruit instead.
Fruit juice might seem like a good idea, but the reality is that most of these drinks are packed with sugar. A comparison of soda and juice found that many popular juice items, including Minute Maid 100 percent Apple Juice, are just as bad, or even worse, than popular sodas such as Pepsi and Mountain Dew. Meanwhile, fruit has fiber and other nutrients that help your body better absorb their natural sugar content.
7. Increase your water consumption.
One of the issues that can plague people with prediabetes is feeling hungry even after they have eaten. Because of this, experts recommend increasing your daily water intake. It is best to drink a full glass of water after each meal, and you can also help ward off hunger by drinking another full glass with your food and in-between your typical meal times.
8. Commit to 8 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep deprivation is one of the many risk factors that can lead to prediabetes, so getting more than six hours of sleep every night is a must. However, if you are already prediabetic, you will want to commit yourself to a regular schedule that allows you to get eight hours of sleep every night. Doing this will help your body deal with the prediabetic stress, and it is one of many steps you can take to stop your downward spiral toward Type 2 diabetes.
9. Remove junk food from your home.
Humans are creatures of habit, which means that if you keep junk food in your home, you are most likely going to eat it during moments of stress. If you must keep some unhealthy snacks in your house, be sure to put them out of sight so that you will be less likely to think of them when you are feeling hungry. Ideally, though, you will remove all of the candy and other junk food and replace it with easily accessible healthy snacks, including fruit and vegetables.
10. Reach for food that is high in fiber.
Food that is rich in fiber will typically have a lower glycemic index (GI), and this is an important component in reducing your blood sugar levels. Keep in mind that naturally occurring food sources are best because highly processed food tends to have a higher GI, regardless of the fiber content. In other words, it is best to choose high fiber food such as whole grain pasta, lentils and broccoli.
Another important thing you can do to help yourself is to become educated about the common diabetes misconceptions. Combining knowledge with lifestyle changes is truly the best way to stop prediabetes in its tracks.
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